SAN DIEGO – After years of searching for a kidney, a California woman who found a donor by placing an ad on the back of her car is now recovering following successful transplant surgery.
Teri Sampson, who has a rare genetic disorder and rare B-negative blood type, was having difficulty finding a compatible kidney because only 2 percent of the U.S. population matches that blood type. So, with time running out she put the information on the back of her car - and it paid off.
Susan Fox saw the sign on a grocery shopping trip to Costco. Fox is a one of the 2 percent of the population who matches Sampson's blood type, but something she calls the "Holy Spirit" forced her to take a closer look.
“It was last September that I had this moment at Costco, and I’ve been thinking and praying for her and certainly going through this process and she didn’t know that I was going through that,” Fox told KSWB. “I kept walking and as I got closer to my car, I can only explain it as this wind, this really strong wind rushed through my body and actually physically made me turn around. And at that point, I then noticed the blood type B negative. I hadn’t noticed that before. And I thought wow, that’s my blood type, and that's unusual. "
Fox snapped a photo and after conducting a series of tests through Sharp’s Transplant Center, the procedure was finally performed.
The transplant is over, and doctors say Sampson's prognosis is good. For Sampson and Fox, that ends one phase and begins another.
“I look at it like it’s the end of a journey, but now it’s the beginning of the adventure,” Sampson said.
Fox donated her kidney to save Sampson's life. Wednesday, for the first time, the two women met.
“Here we are today, a couple days after surgery, and I’m just very humbled by what God started and what he’s finishing,” Fox said. “I just wish her the best with her life -- that she’s healthy and well.”
“You know, I’ve tried for the last six months to write a letter to her, to explain the gratitude. I start crying I can’t get past the first line,” Sampson said. She said she doesn’t know if thank you will ever be enough for someone who saved her life.
Sampson said she is grateful to have found a compatible kidney, but she knows there are many others out there who still need to find a compatible donor. At the very least, she hopes her story and Fox's will increase awareness about the need for donors.
“So I put a new sign on my car that says, "I love my kidney donor and thank you." She’s so sweet. I mean how do you thank someone for saving your life for giving you a future, giving you a part of them?” Sampson said.